The Ornish diet is not a traditional diet in the true sense, as it promotes a healthy heart in addition to weight-loss. The Ornish diet was originally developed by the American cardiologist Dean Ornish as a treatment and prevention method for cardiovascular disease.
Basically, the Ornish diet is made up of carbohydrate and low-fat foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Therefor, the Ornish diet can be categorized as a low fat diet. Ideally, meat and meat products are to be avoided. In addition to weight loss, it is supposed to help with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
This is how the Ornish diet works
These are Dr. Dean Ornish’s principles of a heart-healthy lifestyle:
- A vegetarian, low-fat diet without certain fats and oils. Fish with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids is permitted.
- Smoking cessation: In addition to hardening the arteries, tobacco smoke has a number of other harmful effects.
- Circulation Enhancing Physical Activity: Going on a 30-minute walk every day promotes metabolic function.
- Heart Yoga and psychological discussion groups for stress management.
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Also, all foods are divided into five categories in the Ornish diet. The majority of the diet should include foods from group one. It includes low-fat and high-fiber products such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, soy and whole grains. This is supposed to optimally prevent heart disease and premature aging.
The second group, also mainly composed of vegetables, contains foods with a slightly higher fat content, such as avocados, olives, nuts, or vegetable oil. Caffeine drinks are also in this group. All foods mentioned in group one and two can safely be eaten during the diet.
Group three contains white flour products, sugar and honey, some seafood, mainly fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Anyone who wants a completely vegetarian diet may alternatively rely on fish oil capsules or vegetarian omega-3 supplies.
Group four contains foods such as lean meat, pastries and mayonnaise.
The fifth and final group contains the “unhealthiest” foods. These include foods with a high content of trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids: Red meat, egg yolk, fried dishes, butter and tropical oils.
This classification of food constitutes the basis for the diet during the Ornish diet. Although there are no absolute prohibitions, it is clearly indicated that one should mainly rely on food from the first two groups, as they are significantly healthier. Only then will you be able to lose weight healthily.
Our conclusion on the Ornish diet
The Ornish diet is a well thought out and healthy eating concept and deserves a recommendation. Losing weight quickly is not its strength, but it’s also not the goal of the Ornish diet. Because of the health benefits of this diet, we think that the Ornish diet is especially suitable for middle-aged people or older. By the way: In 2011 and 2012, the Ornish diet made 1st place in the annual diet ranking the US News & World Report, as the best heart-friendly diet program.